England Women 5-0 Kazakhstan: Lionesses finish 2017 on a high

Nikita Parris (L) celebrates scoring England's third
Image: Nikita Parris was named Player of the Match after her brace

A slick second-half performance from England Women saw them thrash Kazakhstan 5-0 in World Cup qualifying in Colchester on Tuesday evening.

England dominated from the first whistle but only had Melissa Lawley's 15th-minute goal to show for their efforts in the first half.

England continued to control proceedings in the second half but the score remained the same until Mo Marley made a double change with less than half an hour to play, sending on Izzy Christiansen and Fran Kirby.

It proved to be the killer change. Kirby netted a penalty inside a minute of her introduction (64), before setting up Nikita Parris (69). Parris then defied the offside trap to make it four (75), before Christiansen tapped home Kirby's knock-down (76).

England's Fran Kirby of England (2R) celebrates with her team-mates after scoring from the penalty spot
Image: Fran Kirby scored one and set two up as a second half subtitute

The result sees Marley end her temporary tenure at the helm with the Lionesses continuing their 100 per cent record in qualifying, having scored 15 unanswered goals.

Much like England's previous opponents Bosnia, Kazakhstan set up with the intent to defend and frustrate and they succeeded - albeit with unorthodox methods - for much of the first half.

Aida Gaistenova was incredibly lucky to be given the benefit of the doubt when she bundled the aggrieved Parris to the ground on the penalty spot, but just a minute later their backline was breached by the Lionesses.

Also See:

Slack defending from Shokhista Khojasheva allowed Manchester City's Lawley to convert debutante Keira Walsh's scuffed cross and scored her maiden England goal.

It took almost 20 minutes for the advantage to increase after the break, but when Yekaterina Babshuk handled in the area, in Kirby's form, she was never going to miss from the spot, and she duly tucked away past substitute stopper Irina Sandalova.

COLCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Melissa Lawley of England celebrates scoring the first goal with Keira Walsh of England during the FIFA Women's World C
Image: Melissa Lawley netted on her first start for England

Five minutes later, Kirby turned provider for Parris to smash her first of the evening into the back of the net, and a timely 'dummy' from Jill Scott ensured the Manchester City forward could beat the offside trap to calmly curl home.

Within moments, Christiansen had turned Kirby's downward header over the line to cap a greatly improved second-half performance, prolong England's perfect start and ending 2017 on a high.

Player of the match - Nikita Parris

Nikita Parris is in a real purple patch at the moment. The Manchester City forward followed up her goal against Bosnia last Friday with two goals this evening and thoroughly deserved both.

They epitomised her desire to stay on the shoulder of the last player, run at goal with her electric pace and finish coolly. That's three in two for the 23-year-old who is sure to be a huge part of the next England manager's plans.

What's next?

The as-yet-undetermined new boss will lead England to their next qualifier against Wales at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium on April 6, 2018, with Kazakhstan hosting Russia three days later.

Around Sky